Saudi sent ex­perts to cover up Khashoggi mur­der: Turkey

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Saudi Ara­bia sent two ex­perts to Is­tan­bul with the spe­cific aim of cov­er­ing up ev­i­dence af­ter the mur­der of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi at its con­sulate in Is­tan­bul, a Turk­ish of­fi­cial said on Mon­day.

More than a month af­ter the Saudi royal-in­sider-turned critic was killed in­side the mis­sion on Oc­to­ber 2, Turkey has still yet to re­cover the re­mains amid claims that his body was dis­solved in acid, AFP wrote.

The killing of the 59-year-old has se­verely dented the king­dom’s im­age in the West and put pow­er­ful Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man on the de­fen­sive.

“We be­lieve that the two in­di­vid­u­als came to Turkey for the sole pur­pose of cov­er­ing up ev­i­dence of Ja­mal Khashoggi’s mur­der be­fore the Turk­ish po­lice were al­lowed to search the premises,” a se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial said, ask­ing not to be named.

The of­fi­cial con­firmed a re­port in the Sabah news­pa­per say­ing that chem­i­cals ex­pert Ahmad Ab­du­laziz al-janobi and tox­i­col­ogy ex­pert Khaled Yahya al-zahrani were among a team sent from Saudi Ara­bia pur­port­edly to in­ves­ti­gate the mur­der last month.

The re­port said they vis­ited the con­sulate ev­ery day from their ar­rival on Oc­to­ber 11 un­til Oc­to­ber 17. Saudi Ara­bia only al­lowed Turk­ish po­lice to fi­nally search the con­sulate on Oc­to­ber 15.

Af­ter weeks of al­le­ga­tions in pro-govern­ment me­dia, Turkey’s chief prose­cu­tor last week con­firmed Khashoggi was stran­gled as soon as he en­tered the con­sulate and the body was dis­mem­bered.

But de­spite in­ten­sive searches by Turk­ish po­lice, there is still no trace of his re­mains.

Turkey’s al­le­ga­tion of the de­ploy­ment of a “clean-up” team came af­ter Yasin Ak­tay, an ad­vi­sor to Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, hinted Fri­day that the body may even have been de­stroyed in acid.

Turk­ish Vice Pres­i­dent Fuat Ok­tay told the of­fi­cial Anadolu news agency Mon­day that “all those re­ports should be in­ves­ti­gated”.

In an ed­i­to­rial pub­lished in The Wash­ing­ton Post Fri­day, Er­do­gan said it came from “the high­est lev­els” of the Saudi govern­ment, while he did “not be­lieve for a sec­ond” that Saudi’s King Sal­man had or­dered the crime.

Turk­ish me­dia have pointed the fin­ger at pow­er­ful Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man and an­a­lysts have said Ankara is keen to have the heir side­lined from the nexus of power in Riyadh.

“Yes, a mur­der was com­mit­ted and it was pre­med­i­tated. Who gave the com­mand for this mur­der to be carried out on Turk­ish soil?” Ok­tay echoed the pres­i­dent’s ques­tion in Mon­day’s in­ter­view.

How­ever, Er­do­gan has yet to di­rectly ac­cuse Prince Mo­hammed, who has con­demned the mur­der “a re­pul­sive in­ci­dent”.

AFP

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